ARTICLE I. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
Constitution of Alabama
That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit; and that, therefore, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to change their form of government in such manner as they may deem expedient.
That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.
SECTION I. The amendment shall be known as and may be cited as the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment.
SECTION II. The Legislature makes the following findings concerning religious freedom:
(1) The framers of the United States Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution, and the framers of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, also recognizing this right, secured the protection of religious freedom in Article I, Section 3.
(2) Federal and state laws “neutral” toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise.
(3) Governments should not burden religious exercise without compelling justification.
(4) In Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the United States Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion.
(5) The compelling interest test as set forth in prior court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing governmental interests in areas ranging from public education (pedagogical interests and religious rights, including recognizing regulations necessary to alleviate interference with the educational process versus rights of religious freedom) to national defense (conscription and conscientious objection, including the need to raise an army versus rights to object to individual participation), and other areas of important mutual concern.
(6) Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C., § 2000bb, to establish the compelling interest test set forth in prior federal court rulings, but in City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S.Ct. 2157 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held the act unconstitutional stating that the right to regulate was retained by the states.
SECTION III. The purpose of the Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment is to guarantee that the freedom of religion is not burdened by state and local law; and to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious freedom is burdened by government.
SECTION IV. As used in this amendment, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(1) Meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
Freedom of religion
(2) The free exercise of religion under Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.
(3) Any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, and official (or other person acting under the color of law) of the State of Alabama, any political subdivision of a state, municipality, or other local government.
(4) Any government statute, regulation, ordinance, administrative provision, ruling guideline, requirement, or any statement of law whatever.
SECTION V. (a) Government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b).
(b) Government may burden a person’s freedom of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
(1) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and,
(2) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(c) A person whose religious freedom has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial, administrative, or other proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government.
SECTION VI. (a) This amendment applies to all government rules and implementations thereof, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after the effective date of this amendment.
(b) Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.
(c) Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address those portions of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution permitting the free exercise of religion or prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion, or those provisions of Article I, Section 3, of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, regarding the establishment of religion.
SECTION VII. (a) This amendment shall be liberally construed to effectuate its remedial and deterrent purposes.
(b) If any provision of this amendment or its application to any particular person or circumstance is held invalid, that provision or its application is severable and does not affect the validity of other provisions or applications of this amendment.
Every person shall be at liberty to worship God according to the dictates of his or her own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, or, against his or her consent, to contribute to the erection or support of any place of religious worship, or to pay tithes, taxes, or other rates for the support of any minister of the gospel. Property belonging to the state may be used to display the Ten Commandments, and the right of a public school and public body to display the Ten Commandments on property owned or administrated by a public school or public body in this state is not restrained or abridged. The civil and political rights, privileges, and capacities of no person shall be diminished or enlarged on account of his or her religious belief. No public funds may be expended in defense of the constitutionality of this amendment.
The Ten Commandments shall be displayed in a manner that complies with constitutional requirements, including, but not limited to, being intermingled with historical or educational items, or both, in a larger display within or on property owned or administrated by a public school or public body.
That no law shall ever be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press; and any person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable seizure or searches, and that no warrants shall issue to search any place or to seize any person or thing without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel, or either; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; and to have a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; to testify in all cases, in his own behalf, if he elects so to do; and, in all prosecutions by indictment, a speedy, public trial, by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense was committed; and he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law; but the legislature may, by a general law, provide for a change of venue at the instance of the defendant in all prosecutions by indictment, and such change of venue, on application of the defendant, may be heard and determined without the personal presence of the defendant so applying therefor; provided, that at the time of the application for the change of venue, the defendant is imprisoned in jail or some legal place of confinement.
(a) Crime victims, as defined by law or their lawful representatives, including the next of kin of homicide victims, are entitled to the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when authorized, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, to the extent that these rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the person accused of committing the crime.
(b) Nothing in this amendment or in any enabling statute adopted pursuant to this amendment shall be construed as creating a cause of action against the state or any of its agencies, officials, employees, or political subdivisions. The Legislature may from time to time enact enabling legislation to carry out and implement this amendment.
That no person shall be accused or arrested, or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the form which the same has prescribed; and no person shall be punished but by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offense and legally applied.
No person shall for any indictable offense be proceeded against criminally by information, except in cases arising in the militia and volunteer forces when in actual service, or when assembled under arms as a military organization, or, by leave of the court, for misfeasance, misdemeanor, extortion, and oppression in office, otherwise than is provided in the Constitution. In cases of misdemeanor, the Legislature may by law dispense with a grand jury and authorize prosecutions and proceedings before any inferior courts as may be by law established. In all felony cases, except those punishable by capital punishment, the Legislature may by law dispense with a grand jury and authorize prosecutions and proceedings in any manner as may be provided by law if the defendant, after having had the advice of counsel of his or her choice or in the event he or she is unable to employ counsel, the advice of counsel which shall be appointed by the court, makes known in open court to a judge of a court having jurisdiction of the offense that he or she desires to plead guilty.
That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; but courts may, for reasons fixed by law, discharge juries from the consideration of any case, and no person shall gain an advantage by reason of such discharge of the jury.
That no person shall be barred from prosecuting or defending before any tribunal in this state, by himself or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party.
That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
That in all prosecutions for libel or for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the court.
That all courts shall be open; and that every person, for any injury done him, in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due process of law; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay.
(a) This amendment shall be known and may be cited as the American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment.
(b) The law of Alabama provides:
(1) The State of Alabama has developed its unique public policy of laws based on the United States Constitution, as protected by Amendment 10 to the United States Constitution.
(2) Upon becoming a state in 1819, Alabama adopted its first constitutional and statutory enactments, upon which it has built the rights, privileges, obligations, and requirements of its government and citizens.
(3) Both the provisions of the Alabama Constitution and the statutes and regulations of the State of Alabama, with interpreting opinions by its courts of competent jurisdiction, have developed the state’s public policy.
(4) The public policy of the State of Alabama protects the unique rights of its citizens beginning with Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, guaranteeing the equality and rights of men. Except as permitted by due process of law and the right of the people to vote for self-determination, the rights, privileges, and immunities of the citizens of the State of Alabama are inviolate.
(5) Different from the law of the State of Alabama is foreign law, which is any law, rule, or legal code, or system established, used, or applied in a jurisdiction outside of the states or territories of the United States, or which exist as a separate body of law, legal code, or system adopted or used anywhere by any people, group, or culture different from the Constitution and laws of the United States or the State of Alabama.
(6) Alabama has a favorable business climate and has attracted many international businesses. While Alabama business persons and companies may decide to use foreign law in foreign courts, the public policy of Alabama is to prohibit anyone from requiring Alabama courts to apply and enforce foreign laws.
(7) The public policy of this state is to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Alabama Constitution or of the United States Constitution, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or press, or any right of privacy or marriage.
(8) Article IV, Section 1, of the United States Constitution provides that full faith and credit shall be given by each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. Provided, however, when any such public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of another state violate the public policy of the State of Alabama, the State of Alabama is not and shall not be required to give full faith and credit thereto.
(c) A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, arbitrative, or enforcement authority shall not apply or enforce a foreign law if doing so would violate any state law or a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.
(d) If any contractual provision or agreement provides for the choice of a foreign law to govern its interpretation or the resolution of any dispute between the parties, and if the enforcement or interpretation of the contractual provision or agreement would result in a violation of a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States, the agreement or contractual provision shall be modified or amended to the extent necessary to preserve the constitutional rights of the parties.
(e) If any contractual provision or agreement provides for the choice of venue or forum outside of the states or territories of the United States, and if the enforcement or interpretation of the contract or agreement applying that choice of venue or forum provision would result in a violation of any right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States, that contractual provision or agreement shall be interpreted or construed to preserve the constitutional rights of the person against whom enforcement is sought. If a natural person subject to personal jurisdiction in this state seeks to maintain litigation, arbitration, an administrative proceeding, or a similarly binding proceeding in this state, and if a court of this state finds that granting a claim of forum non conveniens or a related claim violates or would likely lead to the violation of the constitutional rights of the nonclaimant in the foreign forum with respect to the matter in dispute, the claim shall be denied.
(f) Any contractual provision or agreement incapable of being modified or amended in order to preserve the constitutional rights of the parties pursuant to the provisions of this amendment shall be null and void.
(g) Nothing in this amendment shall be interpreted to limit the right of a natural person or entity of this state to voluntarily restrict or limit his, her, or its own constitutional rights by contract or specific waiver consistent with constitutional principles. However, the language of any such contract or other waiver shall be strictly construed in favor of preserving the constitutional rights of the natural person in this state. Further, no Alabama court shall be required by any contract or other obligation entered into by a person or entity to apply or enforce any foreign law.
(h) Except as limited by subsection (g), without prejudice to any legal right, this amendment shall not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, business association, or other legal entity that contracts to subject itself to foreign law in a jurisdiction other than this state or the United States.
(i) Where the public acts, records, or judicial proceedings of another state violate the public policy of the State of Alabama, the State of Alabama shall not give full faith and credit thereto.
That the State of Alabama shall never be made a defendant in any court of law or equity.
That excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted.
That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless charged with capital murder, as provided in Section 13A–5–40, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; murder, as provided in Section 13A–6–2, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; kidnapping in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–6–43, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; rape in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–6–61, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; sodomy in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–6–63, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; sexual torture, as provided in Section 13A–6–65.1, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; domestic violence in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–6–130, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; human trafficking in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–6–152, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; burglary in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–7–5, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; arson in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–7–41, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; robbery in the first degree, as provided in Section 13A–8–41, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; terrorism, as provided in subdivision (b)(2) of Section 13A–10–152, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; and aggravated child abuse, as provided in subsection (b) of Section 26–15–3.1, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended; and that excessive bail shall not in any case be required.
That the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended by the authorities of this state.
That treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and that no person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open court.
That no person shall be attainted of treason by the legislature; and no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.
That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised except by the legislature.
That no ex post facto law, nor any law, impairing the obligations of contracts, or making any irrevocable or exclusive grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed by the legislature; and every grant or franchise, privilege, or immunity shall forever remain subject to revocation, alteration, or amendment.
All vacancies in the office of judge of the circuit court and the office of judge of the district court holding in Baldwin County shall be filled in the manner and for the time as herein provided.
The Baldwin County Judicial Commission is created for the purpose of nominating to the Governor persons for appointment to a vacancy. The commission shall be composed of five members. The members of the commission shall be one person who is a member of the Alabama State Bar nominated by the Baldwin County Bar Association, the presiding circuit judge holding in Baldwin County, one member selected by the Baldwin County Commission, one member selected by the Baldwin County Mayors’ Association where at least two thirds of the members are in attendance at the meeting where the selection is made, and one member who is not a member of the Legislature selected by the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation selected by random selection as designed by the members of the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate who represent Baldwin County.
All members of the commission shall reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the circuit court holding in Baldwin County.
Only the member selected by the Baldwin County Bar Association and the presiding circuit judge holding in Baldwin County may be a member of the Alabama State Bar. The member of the commission who is required to be a member of the Alabama State Bar shall be elected by the members of the bar who are regularly licensed and qualified to practice law in this state and who reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the circuit court holding in Baldwin County. The Executive Committee of the Baldwin County Bar Association, or its successor body in that capacity, shall make rules, not inconsistent with this amendment, for the election of the member of the commission required to be a member of the Alabama State Bar. The executive committee shall certify in writing to the Judge of Probate of Baldwin County the name of the person elected as member of the commission by these members of the bar.
The presiding circuit judge holding in Baldwin County shall certify in writing to the Judge of Probate of Baldwin County the remaining names of the persons selected as members of the commission.
The terms of office of all members of the commission shall be six years. In event that an initial appointment or vacancy is not filled in 30 days, the vacancy shall be filled by the members of the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation residing in Baldwin County within 10 days. A vacancy in the office of a member of the commission shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as the member was originally chosen.
The Judge of Probate of Baldwin County shall record all certificates of election and shall safely and permanently keep the original certificates. Forthwith upon his or her receipt and recordation of every certificate, the judge of probate shall send to the Governor a certified copy of every certificate.
No member of the commission shall be eligible for nomination to the Governor for appointment as judge of the circuit court or the district court during the term of office of the commission member.
The members of the commission shall not receive any salary or other compensation for their services as members. No member of the commission other than the member required to be a judge of the circuit court shall hold any public office, and no member of the commission shall hold any official position in any political party.
If a vacancy occurs in the office of judge of the circuit court or the office of judge of the district court holding in Baldwin County, the commission shall nominate within 30 days to the Governor three persons having the qualifications for the office. If the commission fails to nominate three names during the 30–day period, the names shall be selected by the members of the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation residing in the county within 10 days. The names of all persons considered for nomination shall be available for review by the public and shall be deemed a public record. The Governor shall appoint to the office in which the vacancy exists one of the three persons so nominated for the office. If the Governor fails to make an appointment from the list within 30 days from the date it is presented to the Governor, the appointment shall be made by the Chief Justice or the acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from the same list. The term of office of a judge appointed to fill a vacancy shall be as otherwise provided in Section 153 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901.
That all navigable waters shall remain forever public highways, free to the citizens of the state and the United States, without tax, impost, or toll; and that no tax, toll, impost, or wharfage shall be demanded or received from the owner of any merchandise or commodity for the use of the shores or any wharf erected on the shores, or in or over the waters of any navigable streams, unless the same be expressly authorized by law.
That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.
(a) Every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state. Any restriction on this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
(b) No citizen shall be compelled by any international treaty or international law to take an action that prohibits, limits, or otherwise interferes with his or her fundamental right to keep and bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state, if such treaty or law, or its adoption, violates the United States Constitution.
That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the legislature, and, in that case, no appropriation for its support shall be made for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases, and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor, in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
That no title of nobility or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor, or emolument shall ever be granted or conferred in this state; and that no office shall be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.
That immigration shall be encouraged; emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.
That temporary absence from the state shall not cause a forfeiture of residence once obtained.
That no form of slavery shall exist in this state; and there shall not be any involuntary servitude.
The privilege of suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influences from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.
Foreigners who are, or may hereafter become, bona fide residents of this state, shall enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and inheritance of property, as native born citizens.
That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.
That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people; and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, we declare that everything in this Declaration of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government and shall forever remain inviolate.
English is the official language of the state of Alabama. The legislature shall enforce this amendment by appropriate legislation. The legislature and officials of the state of Alabama shall take all steps necessary to insure that the role of English as the common language of the state of Alabama is preserved and enhanced. The legislature shall make no law which diminishes or ignores the role of English as the common language of the state of Alabama.
Any person who is a resident of or doing business in the state of Alabama shall have standing to sue the state of Alabama to enforce this amendment, and the courts of record of the state of Alabama shall have jurisdiction to hear cases brought to enforce this provision. The legislature may provide reasonable and appropriate limitations on the time and manner of suits brought under this amendment.
(a) The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to reasonable regulations, to promote wildlife conservation and management, and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Hunting by the public and fishing by the public shall be the preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This amendment shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to eminent domain, trespass, or property rights.
(b) This amendment shall be known as the “Sportsperson’s Bill of Rights.”
(a) This amendment shall be known and may be cited as the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.
(b) Marriage is inherently a unique relationship between a man and a woman. As a matter of public policy, this state has a special interest in encouraging, supporting, and protecting this unique relationship in order to promote, among other goals, the stability and welfare of society and its children. A marriage contracted between individuals of the same sex is invalid in this state.
(c) Marriage is a sacred covenant, solemnized between a man and a woman, which, when the legal capacity and consent of both parties is present, establishes their relationship as husband and wife, and which is recognized by the state as a civil contract.
(d) No marriage license shall be issued in the State of Alabama to parties of the same sex.
(e) The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred or was alleged to have occurred as a result of the law of any jurisdiction regardless of whether a marriage license was issued.
(f) The State of Alabama shall not recognize as valid any common law marriage of parties of the same sex.
(g) A union replicating marriage of or between persons of the same sex in the State of Alabama or in any other jurisdiction shall be considered and treated in all respects as having no legal force or effect in this state and shall not be recognized by this state as a marriage or other union replicating marriage.
(a) In order to preserve the freedom of all residents of Alabama to provide for their own health care, a law or rule shall not compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.
(b) A person or employer may pay directly for health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for paying directly for lawful health care services. A health care provider may accept direct payment for lawful health care services and shall not be required to pay penalties or fines for accepting direct payment from a person or employer for lawful health care services.
(c) The purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems shall not be prohibited by law or rule.
(a) It is hereby declared to be the public policy of Alabama that the right of persons to work may not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in a labor union or labor organization.
(b) An agreement or combination between an employer and labor union or labor organization which provides that a person who is not a member of the union or organization shall be denied the right to work for the employer, or where membership in the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by the employer, or where the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any enterprise, is hereby declared to be against public policy and an illegal combination or conspiracy.
(c) No person shall be required by an employer to become or remain a member of any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment.
(d) A person may not be required by an employer to abstain or refrain from membership in any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of his or her employment.
(e) An employer may not require a person, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment, to pay dues, fees, or other charges of any kind to any labor union or labor organization.
(f) This amendment shall not apply to any lawful contract in force on or prior to the date of the ratification of this amendment but it shall apply in all respects to contracts entered into after the date of the ratification of this amendment, and to any renewal or extension of an existing contract.
(a) This state acknowledges, declares, and affirms that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life.
(b) This state further acknowledges, declares, and affirms that it is the public policy of this state to ensure the protection of the rights of the unborn child in all manners and measures lawful and appropriate.
(c) Nothing in this constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.